A non-governmental organisation (NGO) Coalition for the Advancement of Good Governance (CAGC) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to institute charges against the immediate past governor of Imo state Rochas Okorocha for electoral fraud.
Addressing journalists on behalf of the coalition, Friday at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), FCT Chapter, Utako, Abuja, James Okoronkwo of the Society for Equity and Inclusion (SEI) said: “It has become expedient that the public space is not allowed to be overrun by jesters masquerading as leaders and opinion moulders especially as it relates to electoral issues, governance and general good conduct.
“Without a doubt, you are all aware of the fact that a certain governor of Imo state in the last elections held officials of INEC hostage for several hours and forcefully compelled the electoral officer to announce him as winner of Imo West Senatorial District. For this reason, while other worthy winners got their Certificates of Return as and when due, Rochas Okorocha, got his at a later date after some unexplained legal exercises and was ingloriously sworn in as senator Alone!
“For a man that smuggled himself through the backdoor as senator to continue to impinge on the ability of the INEC to conduct free, fair and credible elections shows how low some people can go. What ‘Senator’ Okorocha has simply told Nigerians, we already know anyway, that he never won election.”
Okoronkwo, who was flanked by Peter Inalegwu of Peoples Alliance for Indigenous Rights, and Isa Teidi of Network for Transparency (NET), further stated: “We urge the INEC to show example of all those who worked hard to discredit the last election such as ‘Senator’ Okorocha and prefer criminal electoral charges against them.
“The failure of the electoral body to do this greatly undermines its ability to deliver, free, fair and credible elections and gives electoral brigands the impetus to carry out their impunity against electoral officers such as suffered by the Returning Officer for the Imo West Senatorial election, Professor Innocent Ibeawuchi.”
According to him, “It is still a surprise that ‘Senator’ Rochas Okorocha is yet to come to terms with the fact that the good people of Imo state rejected his attempt to install his son-in-law and create an Okorocha Dynasty in an egalitarian state such as Imo.
“Since the former governor is fully persuaded that Governor Emeka Ihedioha did not win the election that brought him into office, he should simply have represented his son-in-law at the tribunals rather than engaging in this theatre of the absurd.
“Nobody should be surprised at the antics of diminishing clan of the Okorochas who was even rejected by his party the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Also, for a man that is under criminal investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the mindless plunder of Imo state, he should rather beg Imolites for their forgiveness and make restitutions for his crimes against today and posterity of Imo state.”
He said: “As a coalition, we call on the government of Imo state led by governor Emeka Ihedioha not to relent in repositioning the state, restore confidence of Imolites that have been lost, recover all stolen property from former officials and family members of the past regime as well as stay focused on his service to the state.”
The coalition also urged the APC to call its member, suspended or otherwise, to refrain from trying to undermine the legitimate elected government of Imo state as led by Governor Emeka Ihedioha.
Similarly, the EFCC ought to expedite action on its investigation of the pillaging of the state under Okorocha and go beyond sealing properties to arraigning all those involved in the heist of the patrimony of Imo state, the coalition said.